Monday, September 14, 2009


How "fitting and proper!"  (At the end of this blog, an explanation of why fitting and proper is given)

Sunday, September 13, 2009 in The Canton Repository:

Now here's a guy and a congregation who care about the future of Canton and, derivatively, all of Stark County.

Harris:  "We know the political leadership, national and local, are (sic) not moving us forward."

SCPR:  Amen, brother!

Harris:  "We need the best consultants in the world to guide this great city into a posture of economic strength. Therefore I am asking the 'captains of industry' of the Greater Canton area to step forward with a plan to regenerate industry in Canton. To step forward as true patriotic leaders and help us win the battle for economic growth. "

:   "great city?"  Leave it up to a preacher to be positive.  Canton used to be, but "no more."  Canton's slide did not begin with the Healy administration but Healy and his political battles with Canton City Council have co-joined with the overall poor economic climate and consequently have Canton headed in a free fall downward.

"captains of industry?"  Who are these folks?  One of yours truly's comments to a North Canton city official recently was:  "Folks don't realize it, but when a company like Hoover goes belly up, the community not only loses jobs; it loses its leadership (Harris' "captains of industry"

"regenerate industry?"  The best that anyone hopes for in terms of manufacturing jobs in America these days is 20%.  Perhaps, in other partS of the country, but not Canton and Stark County; no?

With all the political squabbling going on (e.g. Healy/Canton City Council; Cicchinelli/Massillon City Council and Held/North Canton City Council), these municipalities, in particular, and Stark County, in general, are highly unattractive to new industry.

From an AFL-CIO report on manufacturing in America:
As a share of total U.S. jobs, manufacturing has declined since its peak of 40 percent just after World War II to 27 percent in 1981 and now stands at about 12 percent. (The Future of Manufacturing and America's Middle Class, James Parks).
Back to the Harris "letter to the editor."

"the best consultants?"  That we have.  Ever heard of Jack DeSario, political science professor at Mount Union College who is in the consulting business?  Oh, the Reverend doesn't mean "political" consulting?  Business and economic development consulting? 

Well, Mayor Healy is a graduate of the NYU Stern School of Business and Canton has annexation director Sam "Darth Vader to the Townships" Sliman and his pal Bill Smuckler of Canton City Council. They think Canton can annex its way out of economic stress, don't they?

Harris:  "There is another group that needs to step forward and give positive and cooperative leadership to economic growth. The unions are desperately needed to give their insights and practical knowledge of industrial growth."

SCPR:  Are union members truly stakeholders anymore?  Union membership is about 12% in the U.S. and only about half of those are in manufacturing.  This group is almost non-existent.  With such small numbers, would they be listened to?


The pastor's poignant point is that Canton and Stark County have no leadership.  

Yours truly's "best bet for Stark County" has been Commissioner Todd Bosley.  But that's not because he is a great leader.

On a relative scale, he stands head and shoulders above his fellows (Harmon and Ferguson).  Saying that is like giving a "left-handed" compliment.  The last time yours truly talked to Bosley, he was reminded how much of a "stand-still" if not regression, Stark County finds itself in economic development after he has been office for nearly three years.

The only thing the SCPR can say for the pastor's largely non-existent "captains of industry" is that the only place for Stark Countians to turn is the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce (CRCOC) as a "sort-of-substitute."

As we all know substitutes are no replacement for the "real deal."  And the CRCOC proves the truism in spades.

The SCPR applauds Canton chamber's effort at creating a leadership class for Canton and Stark County ("A+ for effort," as the expression goes), but it is proving to be a lame effort. 

Its Government Leadership and Signature leadership groups are not, for the most part, made up of folks who - on graduating - roll up their sleeves and do the hard work of leadership and open their minds in a creative, energetic fashion to engage a new potential that could offer some promise to the future of our community.

Moreover, the Chamber provides the general public nothing in terms of accountability for the accomplishments of its grads. 

Apparently, getting a diploma from the CRCOC schools is akin to having one more plaque to hang on the wall.

With the lack of  actual "real" leadership or developing leadership, it may well be the time to turn to the pastor and his flock as a "fitting and proper" place to now be.

Why is that?

Because the leadership deficit of Canton and Stark County is likely to the point that its solution shall only come on "the wings of a hope and prayer!"

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